A property may appear in fantastic condition when you look around but there is much more to home than what you can see from the outside and when you’re making a substantial investment like purchasing a home, you want to be sure no hidden surprises are lurking around. An experienced building inspector can investigate a property thoroughly using high tech equipment and will often find defects that go unnoticed by an untrained eye. Here are some of the most common defects that they come across.
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Structural defects can be caused by a variety of things and they tend to be more common in older houses than new ones. Initially, it can appear as a small crack in the wall but overtime if left untreated, it can cause significant damage that can cost thousands of dollars. Some reasons why this can occur include factors such as:
- Faulty construction
- Unsuitable soil conditions
- Poor quality building materials
- Termite damage
- Improper site selection
Structural issues can also be caused by wear and tear, leaks, environmental factors such as excessive rain or winds, poor ventilation, and lack of maintenance. Often these issues aren’t visible so there is no way for the homeowner to detect an underlying problem without a professional inspection.
Plumbing defects can go undetected for long periods and by the time they are discovered, they’ve already done significant damage to the structural stability of the home. While you may not be able to pick up these kinds of issues, a building inspector will. They use thermal imaging detectors which can reveal areas of moisture not seen to the naked to the eye.
Some common plumbing defects building inspectors come across:
- Water-proofing issues
- Gutters problems
- Water leaks via chimneys, weep holes and flashings
- Inferior downpipes
- Poor general upkeep of the property
Water leaks can jeopardise the structural integrity of your home. Areas exposed to prolonged bouts of moisture are prone to mould growth which can be hazardous to your health.
If a home is not well ventilated, the moisture level inside will become high and this will cause problems such as rot and can lead to poor air quality which can negatively impact your breathing. If the floor plan is the reason behind the homes limited ventilation, this can be an extensive and expensive fix. Many are unaware that their home is inadequately ventilated until a building inspection is carried out. Common reasons for poor ventilation include:
- Inferior design
- Faulty windows and doors
- Damaged or obstructed ductworks
- Homes that are excessively closed up to prevent energy loss
- To many objects/clutter in the one room
While clutter and objects will be removed from the home that you are buying, sometimes the damage has been done by previous owners and it should be inspected by a professional to address any underlying ventilation issues that are not obvious to a layperson.
Defective electrical work
Defective electrical work is usually more of a concern with older homes. The current Australian standard for electrical work is high and if the home has the existing electrical work that was done decades ago, it’s likely that it won’t comply with the standards of today, not only that, your electrical wiring needs to be compliant to ensure it is safe to use and to avoid preventable accidents. A building inspector will have the necessary skills to note any discrepancies with your electrical work when conducting their inspection. Some commonly seen electrical defects found by building inspectors:
- Chewed wiring generally caused by rats or mice
- Moisture near electrical wiring
- Exposed electrical wiring
- DIY wiring
- The positioning of electoral downlights (close to insulation can be a fire hazard)
One of the main defects documented in building inspection reports is drainage related. A building inspector will point out areas of potential drainage problems and current issues that need attention. A lot of drainage problems are easy to fix and are worth seeing as soon as you can to prevent them worsening and compromising your home. Common drainage problems found from building inspections:
- Poorly installed or damaged gutters
- Incorrect grading
- Surface depressions
- Tree roots in pipework
A building inspector will evaluate the area around your home and note causes for concern regarding drainage in the report.
Termites are very good at eating away at your home whilst providing little to no indication of their presence and unless you get annual termite inspections, the chances you are aware of them is small. Homeowners usually notice they have termites once substantial damage is sustained to the structure of their home. Its always better to prevent termites than having to eradicate them from your home. Most building inspectors offer termite inspections and they will meticulously scour your home using specialised techniques to determine whether your home currently has or has had termite damage previously. Common signs of termite activity include:
- Hard to open windows and doors
- Hollow sounding timber
- Bubbling paint
- Mud tubes
- Soft floorboards
You may come across some of the defects mentioned above if you know what to look for and have the equipment needed to conduct a comprehensive investigation, if not, it’s safer to leave it up to the professionals. Do you need a building inspection done? Contact our expert team here at Premier Building and Pest Reports today.